=One-shot= Their three-year relationship is being severed. The blade is descending. They're being torn from each other, and they can't do anything about it. The outcome? Well, you'll just have to f...
The gentle whir of a suitcase rolling along on the concrete was the only sound around them. They, a girl and a boy, walked solemnly over the crosswalk, pausing only briefly while a small, old man stopped traffic. They walked past him as he said, "Good mornin' to ya both," in a heavy Irish accent.
The girl kept her eyes, blurred and red, to the ground. Her long, brown, curly hair hung in her face, as she hadn't bothered with a hair tie in the rush early this morning.
It was particularly humid that morning, and the fog made the street rather unearthly as she pulled her suitcase along.
The boy walked beside her. He quickly nodded at the old man, unsmiling, and walked on. He stared straight ahead, mesmerized by nothing in particular. The humidity made his wavy blonde hair rebel, but he didn't seem to care.
Once in a while, he would glance over at the girl, and sigh dejectedly. He had a look of defeat on his face and he shoved his hands in the pockets of his jeans.
They approached the doors and they slid open, taking them in. The suitcase seemed to tremble as it rolled over the ribbed mat in front of the next pair of automatic doors. She stopped once she walked through them, took the suitcase off her shoulder, and sighed.
The boy saw her stop and took this opportunity to slip his arm around her waist. He gently kissed the top of her head and she melted into his side. He tucked some of her hair back away from her face, and saw that she had been crying again.
He drew her into his arms and breathed in the soft scent of her coconut shampoo. It comforted him. It was a familiar sensation, even when the situation was not.
She breathed boy's scent in. The familiar aroma of old spice made her content, if only for a moment and she clung tighter to his chest. With her head buried in his neck, she could close her eyes and pretend she wasn't here.
"Happy Birthday, Alex!"
He was by his locker near the art room. Hearing a voice and feeling a hand on his shoulder, he turned around to see his new friend smiling up at him. His stomach flipped.
"Hey, Jen. How did you know it's my birthday?"
She grinned at him. "You told me, remember?"
"Yeah, but that was two months ago."
She shrugged. "The date stuck with me." Jen looked at the tawny haired boy in front of her. He grinned at her and she could feel herself start to blush. "Well, I have to hurry on to class. I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday."
He saw that she was blushing.
'He had to have seen me blushing.'
She pulled him into a hug, the smell of old spice briefly invading her senses. Pulling away, she grinned at him before running off to her English class.
"I'd better go check these," she said softly. As much as she hated to pull herself from his arms, she knew she should do this now, while her tears were in check.
The boy reluctantly let her go. "Do you want help?"
"No, I've got it."
She hoisted her black bag back onto her shoulder and rolled her other suitcase behind her. As she approached the counter, she took the bag off her shoulder and gripped the handle in her palm. She gave her bags to the woman behind the counter.
She gave the woman her confirmation number.
"Fresca, Jennifer? Final destination, LAX?"
She nodded sullenly as she took the boarding pass. She stuck it in her back pocket and walked back to where the boy was standing.
As she turned, she heard the woman call the next person in line up to the counter.
He had watched her place her bags on the scale, resisting the urge to scream. It was official now. There was no turning back.
The love of his life was going to leave him, and there was nothing he could do about it.
"Jen, I've been meaning to ask you something."
There was silence on the other end of the line.
"Yeah?" He could almost hear a quiver in her voice.
"Well, you know that Homecoming is in a couple of weeks, and," He took a breath, "I was wondering if you wanted to go with me."
There was, yet again, silence.
Had she heard him right? Was he actually asking her on a date, to Homecoming?
"If you don't want to, don't worry about it. I mean, it's not a pro-"
"I'd love to go. With you." Her hands her shaking as she clutched the phone.
They said their goodbyes and hung up.
The girl walked steadily back over to where the boy was standing, hands shoved in his pockets, yet again. She sighed. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen.
She had the urge to hide her face in her hands, but instead she put her arm through his and said, "Let's go sit down."
So they did. They sat on the wooden bench next to the window and the escalator. He put his arm around her and she nestled comfortably into his side. They were silent, for there was nothing left to say.
After a little while the noise of a busy airport surrounded them, flowed around them, but they didn't notice much. They were in a flowing river of people, unmoving. Happy families, businessmen and students lined up next to the counters waiting to check their baggage and happily receive their tickets.
Jen's ticket was still in her back pocket, untouched since she had put it in there. It could fall out for all she cared.
Alex handed the person two tickets and looked nervously at his date. She was talking to one of her friends animatedly, her hands accentuating her phrases. Her long hair was pulled into a braid on the side, accented with a black flower placed above it, which matched her flash of a black and white dress.
Oddly enough, she had somehow managed to look elegant.
The night passed with much awkwardness, but that quickly melted away as the music seemed to gain in volume. Jen enjoyed herself immensely and by the end of the night was wishing for just a few more hours, if only so she could spend them with Alex.
She gazed at him when she knew he wasn't looking, and her friends rolled their eyes knowingly.
When it came time for the last slow dance, Alex easily pulled her away from the crowd. He had his hand chastely settled on the small of her back, and she had her arms wrapped around his neck.
'Oh...he smells wonderful.'
She drew back from where she had her head placed on his shoulder, and looked him straight in his eye. "Yeah?"
"Well, you know I'm eighteen, right?"
"Does that bother you?"
"No." 'Why would it bother me?'
"Well, then...would you like it if we, um..." he paused briefly. "...dated?"
Her eyes widened considerably. He was asking her out? This...senior...she had a crush on for the last three months, was asking her to be his girlfriend? Didn't her age bother him? 'I'm one of the older freshmen, but still...this doesn't happen everyday...'
"I would like that a lot." She grinned.
His stomach turned over, half in relief, half at seeing her bright smile. He smiled at her. 'I can't believe she's never dated anyone before.'
Her eyes quickly flicked down towards his mouth, and it curled up into a grin. Before either of them knew what they were doing, Alex had lowered his lips on to hers in a sweet, promising kiss.
Her eyes widened briefly before she shut them. Her heart was beating wildly as he pulled back and leaned in once more to kiss her cheek, gently twining her fingers in his.
Jen leaned up and placed a gentle kiss in front her lover's ear, snuggling in closer as she did so. She heard him sigh and tighten his hold around her waist slightly.
They'd both known this day would come. They were both fully aware that the road they were heading down was a dead end, but it was nicer to pretend, for now, that nothing was wrong.
Nothing was different. This was just like any other day. Any minute now, Alex and her would walk back out to his truck and proceed to drive back home.
She looked up at him. His strong jaw was hidden by the soft blonde whiskers traipsing down from his hairline and curling around his chin. The hair above his mouth was absent, as it seemed he had shaved that morning. She smiled in spite of her mood at how the sun, just peeking over the hills, shone on his hair, making him look something like an angel. She brushed back one of the pieces of wavy hair back from his face.
'This silence is unbearable,' he thought. Was there really nothing left to say?
The clock said two o' clock in the morning. Jen yawned and switched the phone to her other ear.
"Yeah, I'm tired, too."
His voice jolted her back to life just as she was starting to drift off.
"I suppose I'll let you go then. We've both gotta get up for school in the morning somehow."
"Yeah, right. Good luck with that." Her phone's battery was almost dead after the four hours of use it had gotten tonight. "So...I'll see you tomorrow, yeah?"
"Of course." She heard him chuckle lightly. "So, goodnight. And...I love you."
She froze. Anything she was just about to say left her in a hurry as a large smile graced her tired face. She heard him babbling something, but all she said was "I...I love you too, Alex," and she did. She knew from the bottom of her heart that she did.
He stopped. Had she...? "What?" he finally managed to squeeze out.
"I said, 'I love you, too'," she said.
Jen glanced at her watch. According to the little arms, her flight was boarding in forty-five minutes.
"I'm going to really miss you," she said these words softly, as if they were a sacred gift only meant for him.
"I know. I'll miss you too, Jen." He looked over at his beautiful girlfriend. This was the last time they were going to have anything like this conversation, and he knew it. He felt something in his chest collapse upon itself as blinked away the threatening moisture in his eyes.
He half-heartedly laughed. It was a cruel sort of laugh, like the kind a criminal would emit as he shook his head, just before the switch was flipped, or the trigger was pulled, or the shot was injected. "I suppose it's too late to ask you to change your mind?"
Jen looked down at the Stanford long-sleeved shirt she had gotten during her official visit last fall. She nodded. "I suppose so."
Tears pricked her eyes as she stared straight ahead out the window where a man in a suit stood, smoking a cigarette. She watched him as he breathed in the gray smoke, and saw him exhale it in a small stream towards the concrete. He looked at his watch, threw the lit cigarette on the ground, and quickly twisted it under his heel before turning to walk through the door to his left. He set his suitcase down; keeping his briefcase firmly gripped in his other hand.
He pulled the automatic car lock out of his pocket with his free hand, and she saw the headlights of an expensive looking car blink twice right outside the window.
"Alex...car. Car, Alex car!"
The truck jolted and there was a slight crash outside. He swore, and got out of the truck to check the damage.
Jen quickly jumped out, trying to hide her laughter. He had been trying to back up out of his spot in the senior parking lot when a nice looking car apparently got in his way.
She saw him looking at his tail light in mild disbelief. She looked down, and saw that his tail-light was completely smashed, and his bumper dented. The other car, being about ten years newer and three times as sturdy as his truck, had only been moved slightly.
That, and some of the pieces of colored glass were lying on its hood.
"Come on, no damage was done. They'll never know," she said as she brushed the glass off of the front of the front of the car.
Alex looked up at her. Was she serious?
She merely grinned at him and turned around to head back into the car, curly hair bouncing as she did so.
They drove home in silence. Jen hadn't touched the radio and it didn't look like she intended to. Alex kept his eyes mostly on the road, except for when he snuck a glance over at her, where he could see a sly grin starting to form on his girlfriend's face.
They were less than a minute away from his house when he said, "You know, that's the first thing I've ever hit."
She just looked at him and started laughing.
They pulled into his driveway and he backed into his garage. As he was twisting the key to 'off', he saw her jump out of the truck. He climbed out and saw her standing on his side of the truck with a familiar look in her eye.
Seconds later, she walked towards him, fingers dragging on the wall of the garage, and sealed her lips to his.
He reacted immediately. His arms went around her waist, hugging her close, and her hands went straight to his hair, running through it. They kissed with a passionate rhythm and soon, she was pushed up against the wall.
She could hear his heavy breath and suspected hers sounded much the same.
"What are you kids doing out here?"
They jumped apart, Alex bumping against the side of his truck, and saw his mother standing in the doorway that connected the house to the garage. She had her arms crossed, and it looked like she was trying to keep from laughing.
She snapped her fingers and motioned with a jerk of her thumb to get inside.
She turned her back, and they turned to look at each other. Jen saw a vivid blush gracing her boyfriend's cheeks, and had to bite her cheek to keep from laughing.
She was crying again. She bit her cheek to keep herself from outwardly sobbing as the tears flowed freely down her cheeks. She didn't make a sound.
Alex felt her shake slightly, and saw that she was crying again. "Hey. Hey, cheer up, love. It's not all bad. I mean, you're going to college! You should be excited..." He tried consoling her. However, at these words, she seemed to start crying even harder.
"You know you can call me whenever you want, if you ever need to talk to someone."
She nodded, seemingly forcing her tears to stay at bay. "I know."
They both knew that she wouldn't, though.
She heard her watch give off a quiet beep, letting her know that her plane was boarding in twenty minutes.
"I think I need to get going."
Alex sighed heavily. "I suppose you do.
They looked at each other, each with the same look of defeat in their eyes.
"We don't have much time left, you know."
They lay together on the bed, under the dark blue covers. They looked directly out of a romance film as they gazed into each other's eyes.
"What are you talking about? We still have nearly a year before I leave for college." She shifted her head as it rested against his shoulder and drew lazy circles with her fingertips against his bare chest.
They stood up and looked at each other as if it would be the last time. She jumped into his arms, hugging him tightly as he lifted her off the ground a bit. She rubbed her face against his neck, hoping that maybe she could breathe him in.
The five-hour plane ride into Los Angeles was going to be a lonely one.
She thought of her parents. Going to Stanford was her dream, and her father had shared it with her. If they were still alive, they'd be so proud of her.
She kissed Alex on the cheek and he set her down, looking at her with a mix of pride and sadness.
"Yeah, we have nine months. Do you realize how short that is?"
Jen gazed at her boyfriend of three years and sat up, leaning on her hand for support. "And if you start thinking about it now, you'll never be able to enjoy them."
"It's hard not to think about it. Whenever I see you, I can't help but think about how you're going to be leaving in less than a year."
She saw that there were tears starting to form in his eyes. This time, he did not try to blink them away. He slid his arm around her waist and slowly directed them towards the escalator.
"You know, I never thought this day would actually come. I never thought I'd really have to just...let you go."
There were tears in her eyes to mirror his as they walked as slowly as possible. They came to just in front of the moving stairs. Jen stood there, wishing they could go a little bit slower. If only just a little bit.
They stepped onto the same stair, holding onto each other for dear life.
Alex grabbed the hand that was still tracing circles on his chest, and slipped his fingers through hers. He looked at her earnestly, not willing to admit to himself that there was nothing he could do to keep her here with him. Once she left, she was gone. That was all there was to it.
The ride up was quicker than either of them could ever hope for. They reluctantly stepped off onto the platform, vaguely hearing a man yell, "Have your boarding passes and identification out and ready!" from the line about three yards away.
It seemed as if the main portion of the earlier crowd had already gone through into the gates, as there were only two little old ladies in the line, hands barely holding onto their boarding passes.
They walked a few steps and stopped, almost unwilling to go on. They looked at each other and realized this was it.
"I mean, it's not like you'll be coming back to visit, or anything. You'll be busy with your summer classes."
They stood there for a few seconds while the man checking identification watched them with an impatient look on his face. Jen turned to face Alex, and took his hands in hers.
She looked at her lover sadly.
"You're going to go off to college and forget all about me." Alex's look was accusatory, as if he actually believed what he was saying. He frowned, looking rather dejected.
The silence here was tangible. The fan whirred in the background, moving air that seemed to be suspended like a sheet of glass. Jen sighed.
"Alex, I think there's a place," She brought their entwined hands up to her chest, "where we keep the memories of our first love."
There was no hiding the tears streaming down both of their faces.
'This is it. I have to let her...us go now.'
He saw her bring their hands up to her chest and look him in the eye.
Alex was speechless. All he could do was stare at the place where their hands were clasped in the middle of her bare chest.
"I love you, Alex."
"I have you right here," she said.
He managed to choke out, "I love you too," before she leaned up to kiss him. One last, sweet kiss, before she withdrew and took a step away.
She had a melancholy smile on her face that said, "I still have you." She slowly took one more step, as if it was the hardest thing she had ever done. She was forced to let go of his hands, and she took her boarding pass and wallet out of her pocket.
Alex felt his chest cave in. There was nothing he could do. He watched her take the little slip if paper out of her pocket, and someone had set off the trigger. The sharp blade was coming down and his neck was held in a wooden yoke.
He wiped the tears from his cheek as he watched her walk up to the man, and all the while she was watching him too. He heard him say, "Please step into lane two for inspection," and she took two steps forward.
Her curls bounced as she turned her head, one last time, to catch one last glimpse of her lover, and she gave him a sad smile. Alex smiled back. She turned, walked behind the curtain, and that was the last time he saw her.
Author's note: Ah...bittersweet. Yes, this is going to stay a one-shot. I'm sorry. This is how it's supposed to end. u_u I might eventually write an epilogue, but I kind of like it the way it is now. (Oh yeah...if you find a mistake that I've missed, could you point it out to me? I'm a bit of a prefectionist...)
To keep it short, thanks to everyone who read this. Feedback is like caffine. It also points me in the right direction. Anyone who reviews has my gratitude and will be deemed fabulous.
Fabulous, I say!